By Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON – Usually the mighty Muskegon Catholic Crusaders crush people with their ground game.
But the Crusaders opened up their air attack on Saturday against Frankfort in a Division 8 regional final game at Kehren Stadium. The passing resulted in two touchdowns, and set up two others, as MCC captured a 35-0 victory and its fourth straight regional championship.
Crusader quarterbacks Cameron Martinez and Trenton Bordeaux combined for 257 yards through the air, by far the most this season from MCC.
“We’ve been getting so many different looks – teams want to take the run away and you’ve got to have complementary things,” said MCC Coach Steve Czerwon, whose team improved to 12-0 on the season. “When something’s not working, you have to have something else to go to.
“We feel good about playing both quarterbacks. We were never able to spring a big run today, but we kind of subbed it at times with some nice passes and the kids made plays.”
MCC now moves on to face familiar foe St. Ignace LaSalle in the state semifinals next Saturday afternoon. Though the time needs to be finalized, the game will reportedly be played in Petoskey.
The Crusaders beat St. Ignace last fall in the state semifinals, and again earlier this season.
“This will be our third game with them in the last 15 games,” said Czerwon, whose team seems well on track for its fourth straight state championship. “We know each other pretty well and I’m sure they’ll have some new stuff, so we’ve got to prepare.”
The Crusaders have certainly been well prepared throughout their 12-0 start.
Through Saturday, the MCC offense is averaging over 45 points per game while the Crusader defense is giving up less than six points per game.
Saturday’s contest started slowly, with no score after one quarter. Then the Crusader passing game started clicking.
On a 2nd and 21 at the Frankfort 43-yard line, freshman quarterback Cameron Martinez launched a 37- yard pass over the middle to Ryder Smith to set up a first and goal at the six.
Two plays later, Walker Christoffersen found room around the right end to score, and the Crusaders were up 7-0 with 10:28 remaining in the first half.
In the final minutes of the first half, Bordeaux completed a pass to a wide-open Christoffersen at midfield, and the senior sprinted to the end zone to give MCC a 14-0 lead with 3:09 remaining in the half.
Frankfort drove to the MCC 12-yard line on its next possession and Quarterback Tige Stockdale launched the ball into the end zone. The ball was tipped and appeared to be out of bounds, but MCC cornerback Cole Charlesworth made an incredible diving interception to preserve the Crusader shutout going into halftime.
The Crusaders pulled away in the second half.
Martinez hit Christoffersen with a 42-yard touchdown pass to put MCC up 21-0 with 4:24 to play in the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Bordeaux lateraled to Martinez, who completed a pass to Smith for a 39-yard gain to the Frankfort one-yard line. Bordeaux punched it in on the following play to put MCC up 28-0 with 39 seconds left in the third.
The only scoring in the fourth quarter came from senior LaTommy Scott, playing his final game at Kehren Stadium, who scrambled 19 yards down the right sideline with 9:20 left in the game.
“We just have to keep playing well,” Czerwon said. “Our kids work hard all offseason and every week, they just have to keep executing and trusting the plan the coaches put in place. The have to keep playing their hearts out.”